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Mold Screening & Testing

North Country Home Inspections provides mold screening and testing services for it's home inspection clients in Maine and New Hampshire.

Mold in housing has come to the forefront as an environmental consideration for those buying a home, due to the negative health effects as well as the ability of mold to damage buildings, resulting in decreased property values.  Mold growth can render a property both unlivable and unmarketable.

Mold in housing is not a new thing!  The biblical book of Leviticus contains some of the earliest writings instructing how to deal with mold in the home.  The priests were history's first known mold inspectors.  Homeowners with mold growth on their walls were instructed to scrape it off and then have the area checked by the priest.  If successive scraping or cleaning did not keep the mold from coming back, the house was destroyed and the debris was dumped in an "unclean place".  This shows that the effects and presence of mold in the home have been known for over 3,000 years.

Approximately 35% of all properties have water infiltration each year.  Of that 35%, 13% of the water comes from the interior of the home (plumbing leaks, mostly) and 21% comes from the exterior (roof leaks, poor grading, bad flashing, etc.).  Of homes that are inspected, approximately 70% of all homes exhibit a "red flag" indicating water infiltration.  Even more have conditions that are not yet visible.  Of the 50 million Americans having asthma or allergic sensitivities, there is a high probability that many of these cases are related to mold exposure in the home.

During the course of our home inspection, our inspectors will screen for these "red flags" and if they exist, will notify the client and suggest appropriate testing.  There are a variety of tests available to detect or quantify the extent of mold contamination:

Swab/Tape Testing:  Whenever mold is visible, it is appropriate to take a swab or tape sample to identify what types of mold are present.  Results from a state certified lab are usually available within a few days.

Air Sampling:  When "red flags" have been identified but no mold has been observed, it is appropriate to sample the indoor air in the room where a potential problem exists.  The outdoor air is also sampled to provide a comparative basis for determining whether indoor mold spore levels are elevated.  Samples are sent to a state certified lab with results available within a few days.

Carpet Testing:  When no "red flags" have been identified, and no mold is visible, it is appropriate to conduct carpet testing.  Carpet testing is useful because it can provide "historical" data.. Mold spores, as well as other contaminants, can find their way into carpet where they can remain for extended periods of time.  Carpet sampling can be a useful tool to indicate conditions that may exist, or have existed, that may have been covered up during preparing the property for sale.

Other testing methods exist which may be invasive or require extended periods of time for laboratory analysis and therefore are not appropriate for tests conducted for the purposes of a home inspection as part of a real estate transaction.

After any samples taken have been analyzed, the laboratory will issue a report indicating their findings and their recommendations.

For more information about molds, please consult the following links:

Mold, Moisture and Your Home

EPA Mold Information

Mold testing is performed according to generally accepted industry protocols.

Call 207-713-0675 for a quote.

 


 

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Last modified: February 10, 2016